Orange County Animal Services has opened applications for the eighth annual Pat Sanford Animal Welfare Award until Oct. 8.
The grant — sponsored by the Friends of the Orange County Animal Shelter — awards up to $500 to an organization that wants to start or continue to grow a program supporting the welfare of companion animals in Orange County.
The grant is named after Pat Sanford, who served as executive director of the Animal Protection Society of Orange County for 17 years.
Sanford enacted several important initiatives as executive director, including a public effort to increase the number of spayed and neutered pets to combat overpopulation and a new focus on wildlife rehabilitation within the organization.
Even after her retirement in 2002, she continued working to improve animal welfare in Orange County by serving on the Animal Services Advisory Board for many years.
Tenille Fox, a communications specialist with Orange County Animal Services, said past recipients have used the grant funds in ways some people might not expect.
“We had a company called Trestle Leaf Web Design and what they did was start a website to help with rehoming animals, and this went towards getting that website started,” she said. “That was a great example of something outside of the box people might not be thinking of when they think about this grant.”
Alan Dow, the president of past grant recipient Independent Animal Rescue, said his organization applied for the grant to start an initiative to microchip feral cats and load their histories onto the chips.
“If you microchip it, then someone can scan it and take it to a vet, then they understand what’s happened to it in the past and they can contact us if they need to,” he said.
Andrea Williams, the director of fundraising and events for past grant recipient Carolina Boxer Rescue, said her organization used the grant funds to better market their senior dogs to get them out of the shelter.
“A lot of times, senior dogs will sit in a rescue for a while because they are not as cute as a puppy or younger dogs,” she said. “So we used the grant to cut the adoption fees of our senior dogs who had been in the rescue the longest, and it was great for us.”
Williams said grants like the Sanford award are crucial for keeping nonprofit organizations like Carolina Boxer Rescue open.
“Without these types of grants, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do,” she said. “Grants are really the lifeblood of an organization like ours.”
Other past recipients of the grant include Pet Pals, the North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center, Hope Animal Rescue, Our Wild Neighbors and Meals on Wheels of Orange County.
Fox said this grant and the organizations that receive it are important to not only pet owners or those who work with animals on a daily basis, but the entire Orange County community.
“If we have a healthy broad spectrum of initiatives, including ours, in our community, then we are all better for it,” she said. “The healthier our animals in the community are, the healthier our community is.”
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